Bill Clinton did it.
New York City did it. (more than once)
Michael Vick did it.
Britney Spears did it. (sort of)
Kate did it. (minus one, plus eight)
That's probably enough for now; I think you get my point.
There are numerous, countless ways we find examples of picking ourselves up from defeat happening all around us. At almost any given time, someone, somewhere, some way, finds a way to overcome adversity, bad judgement, poor timing, irresponsible behavior, or otherwise failing in some way, shape, or form.
Picking ourselves up from defeat, coming back from behind, rising out of the ashes, making lemons out of lemonade is the American spirit built into each and every one of us -- even if we our totally unaware.
We keep trying.
We keep at it until the job is done.
We live with purpose and determination, not to let the going get the best of us, even if the going gets rough.
It comes, believe it or not, from our Judeo-Christian roots:
"Nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37
"It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35
"Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day...
so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This faith, this hope, was built into our American mainframe over generations, over centuries.
We have this inherent ability to overcome anything; and it is manifested, in ways large and small, day after day. For the reality is, and always is, accidents happen; mistakes happen; sh** happens; bad things happen to good people and good people can do bad things, and in the mean time, we fall in categories of being bystanders, activists, and story tellers -- or maybe victims, warriors, ministers and saints. We get involved or we don't; we speak up or we crumble; we move forward or fail miserably.
Grey area has never been a strong suit...
We have fairly good news coming out of the Gulf this morning, it is being reported that the pipe has successfully been cut, and now BP can follow up with placing a cap on the gushing well. It is a moment when we can all take a collective deep breath and give thanks -- to whomever you please.
My mind has been stumbling lately over an idea that may seem catastrophically strange -- I've been wondering what would happen if, all upon the same day, everything that could go wrong actually did? What would happen?
If this question doesn't ironically answer the age old question of how much is too much government, then I don't know what will. There is a reason for limited governance -- for the government is not God; it is inconceivable and incalculable for the government to be everywhere and fix everything for us -- for it is impossible.
For one, we would run out of money, pretty darn quick.
For another, we would run out of able bodies to come to every one's aid, pretty darn quick.
Our ability to rise above adversity, no matter how great or how small, comes from within us -- and really only us...and that, I believe, centers on our relationship with God, with a spiritual world who goes before us and with us as we face our good days and bad.
I caught up with Jillian Michaels' new show, aptly titled for the purpose of this blog, "Losing It with Jillian" -- which aired last night. In this moment we have neither time or place to discuss every issue, but the one that is still ringing in my ear is pertaining to the daughter -- who was about to get married.
She followed the footsteps of her family, gaining alot of weight throughout her teens -- and ultimately found reasonable success in weight loss due to having gastric bypass surgery (along with her father, which didn't work at all). But months later, she still battled with a core belief system which no longer served her well; she lacked a key element in her own worthiness to receive something good, on the inside she was still wasting away.
Not until she was able to overcome the mental hurdle of getting over her own self-loathing, her own inner struggles, her own lack of love for herself, was she ever able to allow herself to feel worthy --
The thing is, even with a solution -- a quick fix -- a surgery to physically correct the dynamics of eating too much (ergo like the government rushing in to save the day...) nothing will push us to make the changes we need to make within our own mind; albeit the damage imprinted on our brain is based on a false belief system in the first place -- but in the second, it cannot change until we make it so -- until we truly believe.
Back to the show six weeks later, we come to her wedding day in full view of a family renewed, enlivened, and glowing from ear to ear -- who collectively lost over a hundred pounds, having shed years of Twinkies hiding from facing multiple realities.
Sometimes, just the weight of the world is what keeps us down and we don't even realize it.
Sometimes, something catastrophic happens, and rips our world apart; sometimes, it's a long, slow deterioration of our spirit; sometimes it appears as someone else doing it to us -- and other times, we get there all by ourselves. It really doesn't matter.
But what would happen if everyone had a really bad day all on the same day?
What would happen if the BP oil spill was on the same day as the recent coal mine disaster, and the Three Mile Island explosion? What if on this same day, we has hundred year floods on every river in America -- hurricanes over the Gulf, and the entire East Coast, all at the same time? What would happen if the market fell, and the housing market fell, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were found to be totally insolvent, and criminal charges were about to be filed? What if on this same day, Iran dropped bombs on Israel, and the entire Middle East was at war -- and there is no way to get oil to America at all, with trucking and commuting to work halted indefinitely? What if on this same day, Toyota, Ford, GM, VW, Subaru, Honda, Hyundai...recall all models of cars from the last ten years? ...wouldn't matter, no gas anyway...but I digress. What if on this same day, McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Sonic all had to recall their beef from each of it's restaurants, while their was also an e-coli scare for every lettuce and tomato in the country --millions of stomachs were adversely affected at a time when hospitals were already overloaded with patients from other catastrophic events? What if on this same day, Johnson & Johnson realized a batch of Tylenol for kids was harmed, their cleaning products were each found to cause cancer in rats, and Pledge was discovered to do more damage to wood than good? What if on this same day, a gunmen held hostage a subway in New York, terrorists bombed every city hall, while every local bank encountered a need for law enforcement for robberies performed with guys wearing the same Richard Nixon mask all, at the same time? oh yeah, and the last pound of bacon ever to be made was sold (as the government outlawed it's production, along with salt.)You get my drift.
As unrealistic as it sounds, catastrophe can meet up with us without warning, and it is only by dumb luck that everything doesn't hit us all at the same time.
But if we can dwell in reality for just a moment, the truth is, the omniscience of our government is simply not there; and by design, by the genius of our founders, it was never intended to be.
Sure, regulations are good; rules are good; laws are good -- but there comes a time when we realize we are living in a false set of security; and that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, for it lulls into believing all sorts of things (besides producing a nation of followers and not doers).
But what truly ensures our security in our world comes from our roots. It comes from entrusting our very living and breathing to the civility and morality and responsibility of always doing the right thing for one another at all times, not just some of the time -- or at the very least make every effort to do so. Without such an unspoken agreement with one another, we would be living (or dying) in chaos.
BP wants to fix the oil spill just as much -- if not more -- than the rest of us; for BP is on the hook to pay for it, and in more ways than one (and a gander at their stock may give us a clue as to why). They want to do the right thing, as the more they appear not to be doing the right thing, the more their reputation and future success is damaged.
You would think, with the government relying on BP for clean up, for money -- for the business of BP to stay in business in order to facilitate both -- you would think that the government would be doing everything in it's power to support the means to the reasonably happy ending for everyone.
Instead, they demonize BP; instead they "put the boot to the throat"; instead, they separate from BP with horror and condemnation as an act of strength, when in fact, it couldn't make them appear any more weak -- for they have no idea the damage being done to a company already vulnerable. Acting tough does not make one strong; making BP look bad doesn't make government look better -- for they authorized the activity in the first place; and neither makes the problem go away any faster.
Does this sort of "I'm with the government, I'm here to help" really have to look like a stranglehold on BP, with threats and actions of filing criminal charges before all attention is turned in the direction that it should be -- finding a solution, unceasing, until we meet with success? Not to mention, BO said HE WAS in charge -- and from DAY ONE...what part of being in charge do you not understand?
Needless to say, the criminality factor is the least of our worries right now.
Right now, we need to overcome a catastrophic event by stopping the leak, protecting our wetlands and our beaches, going to the aid of millions of animals, and preserving whatever fishing industry and livelihoods that remain in wait.
(of course, if the government didn't push oil companies into deep water rigging in the first place...due to the environmental lobbyists demanding the riskier retrieval practices over the far more manageable land and shallow waters approach....this first catastrophic oil rig disaster in 30 years may not have been so out of control, just sayin')
But even still,
Even if today finds the surgery on the pipe completed,
the cap plugged high and tight --
what lies beneath the surface is how we each overcome the damage already done.
How do we start over?
Where do we find sustenance? Where do we fill our souls back up to live to see a better day tomorrow? Who do we turn to and how does our faith save us? How do we respond, personally and collectively, to get over it and on with it -- and just what might possibly lay in wait, having the strength to hold us back?
The beautiful thing about a catastrophe -- if there is such a thing -- is that we find out rather quickly who we are and what we are made of.
Make it a Good Day, G
Our laws were created out of our duty and protection of Life; Frederic Bastiat, a Frenchman, said this (with thanks to The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen):
"We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life -- physical, intellectual, and moral life.
But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. The process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.
Life , faculties, production -- in other words, individuality, liberty, property -- this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.
Life, liberty, and property [pursuit of happiness] do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws [for the protection of them] in the first place."